Lawyer Jailed For Spitting On Airline Crew Found Dead After Leaving Prison

A airhostess of German airline Lufthansa, stands in cabine at the passenger deck
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In a strange twist of events, a human rights lawyer that served six months behind bars for spitting at and berating an airline crew is thought to have committed suicide after being released from jail.

The Daily Mail is reporting that lawyer Simone Burns, 50, from Hove in Southeast England, was found dead after taking her life at the foot of the Beachy Head cliffs. She was previously jailed for spitting on an Air India crew and spewing racial epithets after they refused to serve her a fourth bottle of wine. Fellow passengers captured the event on video and posted it to YouTube.

Burns was released from a women’s prison on June 1 and was found on the beach below the cliffs in East Sussex. A friend of the lawyer said that Burns’ world “fell apart” after her conviction, which made her a target for trolls on the internet and in her real life.

In the video, Burns demands to see the pilot after the cabin crew denies her a fourth bottle of wine due to her level of intoxication. Burns, who was flying in business class, lost her temper, and screamed that she is a “f***king international lawyer!” She used racial slurs when talking to the staff, and then smoked a cigarette in the toilet.

Burns pleaded guilty to assault and being publicly intoxicated on an airplane. She confirmed she had three bottles of wine with her breakfast shortly after takeoff, and requested another. Lauren Smith, who prosecuted at Burns’ trial, recounted the defendant’s actions.

“She got up from her seat and began swearing and shouting. She was shouting that she was a ‘f****** international lawyer’ and telling them to ‘f*** off. You f****** a****, you f****** Indian money-grabbing c****.”

Burns was given a verbal and a written warning three hours into the flight, but it didn’t change her behavior for the remainder of the journey. Cabin supervisor Dastur Pervin tried to intervene but was cursed at, and the unruly passenger spit in her face and “grabbed her by her right upper arm and squeezed it.” When the plane landed in London, she was arrested.

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A spokesman for Sussex police confirmed that the woman found dead on the beach was Simone Hove.

“The body of a woman found at Beachy Head on June 1 has been identified as Simone Burns from Hove. The death is not being treated as suspicious and next of kin have been informed. The matter has been passed to the coroner’s officer.”


If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.